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Abu Dhabi November 2008 Growth Opportunities in Halal Products Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles (PhD) ‏ Founder & CEO – Saaf International Ltd United Kingdom

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Abu Dhabi November 2008
  • Growth Opportunities in
  • Halal Products
    • Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles (PhD)‏
    • Founder & CEO – Saaf International Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • E: [email protected]
    • W:
  • Personal background
  • Challenges in creating the ‘world’s purest skincare’
  • Halal, the new eco-ethical accreditation
  • Market research/trends
  • Industry challenges
  • Summary
  • Pharmacologist, specialising in Clinical Trials and Evidence Based Medicine – Cancer
  • Formulation Chemist for Sanofi Pharma in the UK
  • Studied for Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine in the UK
  • Lifestyle change to Organic Food and Skincare
  • Confused by myriad of eco-ethical claims and ‘green-washing’
  • Where is the evidence?
personal quest
Personal Quest
  • To create the world’s purest skincare range
  • Evidence = Accreditations by Independent and Credible Organisations
  • Cruelty Free – Naturewatch, BUAV
  • Organic – Soil Association
  • Animal Free – Vegetarian Society and Vegan Society
  • GMO Free (Genetically Modified Organisms)??
  • Irradiation Free??
  • Alcohol Free??

HALAL = GMO Free, Alcohol Free

and Irradiation Free

challenge 1 poor halal standards in the uk
Challenge 1 Poor Halal Standards in the UK
  • Contacted most independent UK based Halal certification bodies - 2004
  • No system for Cosmetics
  • Could buy Halal certificates over the internet
  • No formal audit of the factory, only ingredients check
  • No experience or technical knowledge in chemistry and non-food industry

CHICKENS = no Problem

COSMETICS = a lot of money & not a clue!

created uk s first non food halal certification body
Created UK’s first non-food Halal certification body
  • The Halal Food and Cosmetics Consultancy (HFCC) is a voluntary,

not for profit organisation

  • Consisting of a group of independent directors (specialising in Medicine, Chemistry and the Pharmaceutical Industry) and Imam
  • No charge for independent specialist advice, small fee for annual audit to check the factory is Halal compliant
  • Monies go to the upkeep of the mosque and providing educational classes for women
  • Mission is to provide an objective and non-political consultancy service to food related chemicals and cosmetic/toiletries industry, resulting in Halal Certification.

challenge 2 breaking down stereotypes about halal
Challenge 2 Breaking down stereotypes about Halal

Many misconceptions about Halal in the West

  • Cruelty to animals
  • “For them, not for us” mentality
  • “Product must contain meat” - Halal appears to be synonymous with meat
  • “Non-Muslim White company trying to capitalise on a growing trend – not to be trusted” – perceptions of Muslims

Educate consumer about what Halal is really about and obtain accreditations by third parties such as Vegetarian Society, Vegan Register, Cruelty Free approval by Naturewatch and British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection

another eureka moment is halal the next eco ethical accreditation
Another Eureka MomentIs Halal the Next eco-ethical Accreditation?
  • Halal (Islam) = Kosher (Judaism)‏
  • Arabic for Permissible or Allowed
  • Opposite is Haram = Not allowed (drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, usury etc)‏


Principles of Halal are not restricted to food but touches all matters that relate to life.

Including protecting the environment, humane treatment of animals, ethical business and fairness in all transactions.

what is eco ethical
What is Eco-Ethical?

Eco-ethical lifestyle is the fastest growing market in the world

  • Defining Eco-ethical?

- Cruelty Free (no testing of raw materials or finished products on animals, no exploitation of animals to obtain raw materials)‏

- Caring for the Environment (recycling, reducing carbon footprint)‏

- Not Harming the Body (natural formulations, organically grown and products which are free from harmful ingredients)‏

- Corporate Social Responsibility (fair trade, no exploitation of people)‏

I will now explore these principles in an Islamic context…

cruelty free
Cruelty Free
  • Islam is a deeply compassionate religion, especially regarding animal welfare. In God’s eyes, animals are equal to humans, and “He communicates with them exactly as He does with humans”.
  • Numerous verses in the Holy Koran refer to the sanctity of animal life and the equal rights of an animal to have a peaceful life

“All creatures are like a family (Ayal) of God: and He loves the most those who are the most beneficent to His family.”

  • Muhammad\'s kindness to animals was remarkable for the social context of his upbringing. The historian Montgomery Watt cites an instance of Muhammed posting sentries to ensure that a female dog with newborn puppies was not disturbed by his army travelling to Mecca in the year 630.

"There is no man who kills [even] a sparrow or anything smaller...but Allah will question him about it [on the judgement day]," and "Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself."

caring for the environment
Caring for the Environment
  • Islam teaches man to not only respect his neighbour but also mother nature
  • More than 6,000 Quranic verses refer to nature and the relationship between living organisms and their environment
  • The earth\'s natural resources are available for our use, but these gifts come from God with certain ethical restraints imposed on them

Eat and drink, but not to excess (20:81)‏

  • We may use these resources to meet our needs, but only in a way that does

not upset ecological balance and does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs

- Limit Consumption

- Re-use and Recycle


not harmful to the body
Not Harmful to the Body

References in the Quran to food stuff harmful for human consumption, which science can now prove to be true e.g:

- shellfish (as lowest in the marine food chain, they contain large amounts of toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, arsenic etc)

- blood (may contain bio-toxins and ‘distress’ hormones)

- Alcohol (causes skin dehydration and is toxic, recent research shows that even small amounts if consumed during early pregnancy, is harmful to the foetus)

  • Studies show that a large proportion of what we put on our skins, gets

absorbed into the blood stream

  • Synthetic and Petrochemical based cosmetics are harmful, not only to the environment but also the human body
  • Global rise in skin sensitivities/allergies and more serious diseases such

as cancer

  • Halal accreditation ‘should’ ensure that the product does not contain any ingredients deemed harmful to the body
corporate social responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility
  • A large number of Quranic references to economic, social and environmental impact of running a business
  • Products/services, transactions, currencies and other business related activities come under the judgements of Halal and Haram.
  • Eco-ethical interpretation could be:

- sharing wealth by donating a % of the profits to charities

- creating local jobs, community initiatives

- equal opportunities and not exploiting workers and children

- minimising carbon foot print when doing logistic planning

Reference: -

is halal the next eco ethical accreditation
Is Halal the Next eco-ethical Accreditation?

I believe it is…

…my personal mission is to break down any stereotypes in the

West about Halal and to promote Halal in a Eco-ethical light

in the East

technical stuff
Technical stuff!
  • Many personal care products are marketed as “alcohol-free”
  • Important for people who wish to avoid the drying effect of alcohol on the skin
  • Important for Muslims seeking Halal products in which alcohol is not permitted
  • Several ingredients used in skincare can be confusing to the layman/general public
alcohol free explained
“Alcohol Free” explained…
  • Many alcohol-free skincare products would appear to non-scientists to actually contain alcohols, such as PHENOXYETHANOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL ALCOHOL
  • PHENOXYETHANOL sounds like an alcohol, it is actually a glycol ether, and has different properties to alcohols. It is a thick liquid
  • CETYL ALCOHOL is a hard wax like substance obtained from Palm Oil
  • BENZYL ALCOHOL is a natural constituent of many essential oils including Jasmine and Ylang Ylang
alcohol free explained19
“Alcohol Free” explained…
  • These ingredients are actually “ethanol-free”
  • The old term for ethanol was ethyl alcohol – hence the use of the word “alcohol”
  • To the layman, beer, wines and spirits contain alcohol; to the scientist, they contain ethanol
  • To the layman, alcohol is a single substance: to a scientist ‘Alcohol’ describes a whole group of substances with differing properties
  • Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Alcohol and Benzyl Alcohol are “alcohol-free” and acceptable as Halal ingredients
market research global rise in demand for halal
Market Research Global rise in demand for Halal
  • The global market for Halal commodities is currently valued at USD 2 trillion
  • The Halal cosmetic market is currently worth an estimated USD 560 million worldwide and growing
  • An estimated USD 150 billion worth of Halal merchandise is distributed through the Emirate each year, with personal care items constituting a large proportion of this figure
  • Halal fashion and cosmetics constitute a market worth Dh 2.06 billion in the UAE alone
  • The UAE is set to capitalise on this booming trend for Halal cosmetics in view of its position as a regional hub for the distribution of Halal commodities
  • Currently the market for beauty and grooming products as a whole in the Middle East is growing at 12% per annum, and is valued at USD 2.1 billion
  • This growth is being mirrored by the demand for Halal Personal care products

References: -

market research the global halal consumer
Market Research The Global Halal consumer
  • The global Muslim consumer base is estimated to be 1.8 billion spread over 100 countries
  • Demand for Halal personal care products and pharmaceuticals is driven by increased consumer knowledge of the ingredients used in the formulation of such products and the way they are produced
  • Conscientious consumers are specifically reaching out for Halal endorsed products and are choosing to spend money on cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to fit in with their religious and cultural requirements
  • Women are the main decision makers for purchasing lifestyle products
  • Typical Halal consumer is an educated middle to high social class female
market research future product trends
Market Research Future product trends
  • Cosmetics and Toiletries for women, men and children
  • Hair Dyes
  • Make up, nail varnishes, hair sprays etc
  • Perfumes
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Pharmacy/over the counter products
  • Hand sanitisers
  • Household cleaners and room fresheners
industry challenges
Industry Challenges…
  • Halal is normally associated with meat and other foodstuff

and perceived cruelty to animals due to the process of slaughter

  • Non-Muslims may see the Halal logo and think the product is

‘not for them’

Solution = Break down myths and re-define Halal as


industry challenges24
Industry Challenges…
  • Lack of credible accreditation bodies in the West (bogus certificates can be bought over the internet without audits or checks on ingredients)‏
  • Some Muslim countries such as Malaysia are ‘getting their acts together’ but it may be difficult to contact or talk to someone in person due to differing time zones and language barriers

Solution = Develop a single globally recognised

Halal standard

summarising halal criteria
Summarising Halal criteria
  • Free from animal flesh (meat, fowl, fish or shellfish), meat or bone stock,

animal or carcass fats, gelatine etc.

  • Free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Free from Irradiated Raw Materials
  • Free from Aliphatic Alcohols (e.g ethanol, methanol, etc)‏
  • Separation of Halal raw materials and finished products from non-Halal
  • No cross contamination during the production process
  • Can’t use alcohol as a sanitiser for hands or for cleaning equipment
  • Packaging must not contain non-Halal products (e.g animal glue)‏
future outlook
Future Outlook
  • Halal industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world
  • Halal certification can add another USP to your product
  • It can complement other accreditations to bring your product in line with the trend of eco-ethical lifestyle products
  • Open up new global markets
  • However, certification bodies are not globally standardised
  • Non-Muslim companies may be open to exploitation by bogus ‘Halal certifying’
  • Malaysian government are tackling this by the introduction of a global Halal certification – JAKIM
  • But we are a long way off arriving at a global solution
  • Contact or your local Mosque for advice on how to get your product certified

Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles

Founder & CEO - Saaf International Ltd

United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0) 113 2265849

E: [email protected]